Kimberwickes? Yay or Neigh?

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Kimberwickes? Yay or Neigh?

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    10-22-2013, 09:25 PM
Kimberwickes? Yay or Neigh?

My mustang has a kimberwicke and he keeps his head up high when he trots and low when he canters. Does this have anything to do with the bit? Should I try a different bit? Or bitless?
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    10-22-2013, 09:40 PM
Kimberwicke, IMO, is for more of a trained horse, and I would go back to a non leverage bit, snaffle, frenchlink, maybe.
    10-22-2013, 09:44 PM
Green Broke
I ride 100% bit less, and yes, it can be done! Pleasurably and successfully for the horse and the rider. If you must use a bit, however, a D ring or an O ring snaffle, I'm told is the most comfortable for your horse. Welcome to the forum, by the way! :)
    10-22-2013, 10:36 PM
Green Broke
It really depends on the horse. We have one horse we ride bit less, yet in the past I've had a horse that was not trustworthy in bitless on the trails and hated snaffles (even french-link). He loved low-port bits and we rode out a lot in a kimberwicke and those were some of the best rides with him.

I would say try different bits to see what works best with this horse.
bsms likes this.
    10-22-2013, 10:41 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by Northernstar    
If you must use a bit, however, a D ring or an O ring snaffle, I'm told is the most comfortable for your horse. Welcome to the forum, by the way! :)
This is just not true! So many people think snaffles are the gentlest bits when it fact it restricts the horses tongue. A ported bit is much kinder. (You CAN find snaffles with ports, but they sure aren't common. Myler is one of the few places that make ported snaffles). The typical snaffle with a single joint or a lozenge type mouthpiece restricts their tongue and causes resistance. Here is a great video:

The Mylers say when you get resistance, you go to less tongue pressure, not more. I personally have found that to be true.
Allison Finch and Pambam like this.
    10-23-2013, 01:19 AM
I'm not a fan of kimberwickes. Tried one briefly, but if you want leverage, get a bit WITH a reasonable amount of leverage.

Leverage bits are not bad or evil. Horses are individuals, and some respond well to pressure on the poll. My mare will fight snaffles, but goes well in this:

It is a variation of a Billy Allen. The sides move independently, and there is a copper roller in the middle that prevents any nutcracker effect. But western curbs are designed for use with slack in the reins, and that may not suit your goals.

Bitless works well with some horses, and lots do fine in snaffles. Trooper uses a single-joint copper eggbutt snaffle and does great. I found it easier to keep Mia from rooting while cantering with the bit pictured above. I sometimes ride with an English saddle, but I use a western approach to reins ALL the time. Your needs may be very different from mine, I'm just giving some options. Good luck with whatever you decide.

    10-23-2013, 01:57 AM
Super Moderator
If I feel I need a leverage bit, a Kimberwicke is about as mild as you can get, as long as it doesn't have a jointed mouth. They usually have little or no port and has the least leverage of about ANY curb bit. I always try to go with the least possible bit.
    10-23-2013, 02:04 AM
OP, I hate kimberwickes. They're the worst of both worlds. It is a leverage English bit - thus it's ridden with contact. But the bit by design discourages contact through a curb chain, which acts off pressure points. Either look at a Pelham or a snaffle. Your horse will not want to seek contact, nor want to hold contact. Vicious cycle.

Originally Posted by Northernstar    
I ride 100% bit less, and yes, it can be done! Pleasurably and successfully for the horse and the rider. If you must use a bit, however, a D ring or an O ring snaffle, I'm told is the most comfortable for your horse. Welcome to the forum, by the way! :)
You're a bit misinformed there... The cheek piece doesn't really affect comfort so much as the mouthpiece. I would like to direct you to my sticky at the top of the Equipment section.

Bitless does NOT mean gentler. Bitless bridles such as the Nurtural/Dr Cook etc work off of head and jaw pressure. My gelding went nuts when I tried one on him - they cannot get away from the pressure if there is any contact. I'd hate to have that vice around my face. Bitless bridles just employ different pressure and systems, yes even halters. Not to mention that a lot of disciplines require a horse to carry a bit.
Wallaby likes this.
    10-23-2013, 08:07 AM
Green Broke
You don't have to ride a kimberwicke in contact. I never did. I used it as I would a short-shanked curb bit. But I didn't show, just used it on trails and my horse was great at neck reining, just needed some reminders once in a while when we got out on the trails.
Allison Finch and EmilyJoy like this.
    10-23-2013, 09:49 AM
Green Broke
I use this one on my mare. I don't use the second slot much so it's acting like a snaffle with a roller. When I first go her I wasn't sure what I had for brakes and I'm always riding alone so I threw that one on her bridle and ran it with the two sets of reins. Now I know I have a pretty good set of brakes and don't bother with the second set. I've tried her with others and she has so far not liked the others one bit. I also use just a leather curb strap and not the chain. I suppose I should spring for a d-ring with a roller but this one works just fine and I don't show so it really doesn't matter.
EmilyJoy likes this.

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